Tuesday’s Tortuous Teasers

As you know I like to post blurbs of things that will one day be a reality. *snicker* However I am sharing today the beginning of my short story Protecting His Soul. I will be republishing this book in a few months after some revision. I haven’t determined yet how much.

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I thought I saw him yesterday, Cullen, my Irish lover with his big hands and wide muscular chest. Construction work kept his body hard but his eyes were the kindest I’d ever seen. After going through a lot of men I’ve seen more than my share of eyes, and other things.

To say I knew my way around a man’s body was like saying Picasso dabbled in paints. I adore men. I love their smell, their strength, and their hard grip on my hips when they fuck me against the wall.

Before Cullen, I flitted from man to man like a butterfly on meth, unable to settle, but hopelessly addicted to collecting as many experiences as possible.

After Cullen, I craved only one man.

He changed everything. Endlessly patient, he put up with my chatter, my fidgety ways, and my complete inability to be on time for anything, with a sweet smile and a smoldering kiss. No one could get me from cold to burning hot faster than my Cullen, but it was his gentleness that pulled me back and always prevented me from leaving his bed for another’s. I couldn’t do that to him. I couldn’t bear the thought of disappointment or betrayal crossing his face when he looked at me.

Three blissful years we lived together, the happiest I’ve ever been. Deep down I knew I couldn’t have seen Cullen walking around yesterday, or any other day for that matter. As much as I longed for his touch, his smile, and his body it couldn’t be him. They buried my beloved Cullen in a grave right outside the city a year ago. An accident at a construction site sent him tumbling to his death. Internal bleeding killed him according to the red-eyed doctor who delivered me the news.

One slip and my world had ended.

Completely certain I’d imagined the entire thing I pushed the incident out of my mind, until two days later I saw him again. In a crowded restaurant, while having lunch with a friend I looked up and caught the gaze of a man who looked so much like Cullen that my heart clenched with pain. As I sat there gasping for breath, the man turned and walked away, quickly swallowed by the crowd of people filling the sidewalks.

Oh Hell no.

There was no way I would let him get away this time.

I tossed money on the table not caring where it landed, or that I’d over tipped. Rushing out the door I abandoned my luncheon companion without another thought. Jim might be a good friend, but Cullen held my heart.

I followed my dead lover’s doppelganger, pushing recklessly through the crowds and nimbly dodging all obstacles in my path. It took my best efforts to keep him within my sights. The busy street challenged my amateurish tracking skills, but I still kept him in view until he walked into an affluent neighborhood and disappeared into an enormous white mansion. Since when did my working class man live in a ritzy neighborhood?

After a quick glance up and down the sidewalk I saw no one else around. Even the streets were suddenly eerily empty compared to the crowded sidewalks of before. With another quick look around, I tentatively pushed on the intricately detailed iron gate. I half expected the hinges to screech as if I were the “to dumb to live heroine” in a horror flick, but whoever designed the ironwork must not have seen the same films as I had because it swung open without a sound.

My nerves jittered, causing my hands to shake. I hoped whoever lived here would take pity on me and not call the police before I made it to the front door. No one peeked out at me from behind the white lace curtains covering the window as I approached, at least that I saw.

I don’t know what I expected. It wasn’t as if zombies were going to jump out from the perfectly trimmed hedges or ghouls pop up like springs between the daffodils, but my spine had a shivery chill running up and down it. A sensation I knew from experience didn’t bode well.

Reaching the entrance I stopped in surprise. The man I followed hadn’t completely closed the door, a gap showed and although I knew I shouldn’t, I did it anyway. With a gentle press of my fingers I pushed open the front door.

Voices reached me. I should’ve backed out and went on my way. Really, what business did I have walking into a stranger’s house? Unfortunately, curiosity is the one sin the nuns were never able to beat out of me in Catholic school, and I hadn’t improved over time.

“You were supposed to keep an eye on him!” a female voice screeched.

I was glad I hadn’t fully entered the room. The woman might have endangered my eardrums.

A calm male voice answered the accusation as if her harping hadn’t threatened to make him deaf. “You know he finds a way to get free. He can’t stand the separation.”

“He shouldn’t feel any separation!” the loud woman snapped.

I felt sympathy towards the hapless, unseen man, but I still needed to know what the hell was going on. Why did this man look so much like my dead lover? Who was he?

“But he does. That’s my point. When father grabbed him he didn’t take into account Cullen’s Soul Keeper.”

Cullen.

Surely I’d heard wrong. They couldn’t be talking about my Cullen. I had almost convinced myself that I had mistakenly come here by following a daydream, or maybe a wistful shadow, but that wasn’t true if they were using his name. There couldn’t be that many Cullens out there who looked exactly like my dead lover.

“He can’t have given his soul to a human!” The harsh woman proclaimed.

Human?

If you weren’t a human, what were you?

 

 

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